Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah
Every ethnic Malay is expected to be Muslim, according to the country’s Constitution. Those who convert to Christianity break the law and run head first into severe pressure from their families and communities. Converts are seen as betrayers of all that Malay society values most. All non-Muslim religious groups are watched by the authorities, as are non-governmental organizations, but the greatest focus is on non-traditional Protestant groups because these groups are more likely to actively testify about their faith, which is illegal.
Tumultuous Malaysian politics in recent years have resulted in more of an emphasis on conservative Islam, and have made radical factions feel freer to make statements opposing religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians. Converts from Islam to Christianity experience the most pressure and hostility of any group in the country.
Reina heard stories about Jesus and was fascinated. When a local partner gave her a Bible in her own language, her fascination turned to faith. But she was frustrated by not being able to share her faith effectively with her illiterate husband and children. Then the partner gave Reina a USB stick with a complete audio Bible in her language, plus a PDF copy of the Bible and videos of the four Gospels. Now she is able to share Jesus with her family in a way they can understand.
Malaysia continues to be a difficult place for Christians, particularly those who convert from Islam. As Malaysia swings more deeply toward radical Islamic belief and practice, the potential for Christian persecution increases. There is less tolerance, or even hope of tolerance, with the new government than in past years. To maintain order, the continued policy of preferential treatment for ethnic Malay people puts anyone outside Islam under tighter scrutiny.
There are no hotspots of persecution for Christians in Malaysia. However, the All non-Muslims are at risk in Malaysia. Though there are no prominent hot spots where persecution is greater, the pressure to conform is immense. Islamic missionary work among Christians is encouraged; even state-supported plans of conversion to Islam have been published.
Overt Christian work and ministry are not allowed in Malaysia—but Open Doors recognizes that the greatest weapon in this or any other nation is intercessory prayer for the believers. Open Doors raises awareness of the situation for Christians in Malaysia and provides specific prayer points to help the worldwide Church remember and lift up Malay believers. We also work with ministry partners to supply and distributed Bibles and discipleship materials.